OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Video recorded Thursday showed a person occupying Parker Elementary School in Oakland involved in a physical altercation with Oakland Unified School District security guards. The guards in the video appeared to be trying to remove people occupying the building. The school district said they’re trespassing.
“There is nobody trespassing. The only people trespassing is OUSD on this community. They have been doing this for almost a 20-year period, closing schools of communities that need them the most,” said Joel Velasquez, an activist involved in the Parker school liberation efforts.
“It is unthinkable that the district would send a group of poorly trained security officers to injure, aggress and antagonize a peaceful community where children were receiving services,” said another activist who wished to remain unnamed.
The Parker Elementary School Liberation activists and organizers set up the occupation on the last day of school back on May 25. They are protesting the school board’s decision to close the school for lack of funding.
This is the first time a physical altercation happened during the occupation. Oakland Councilmember Carroll Fife was on the scene when it happened.
“It was very disturbing to witness what I witnessed yesterday,” said Fife. “I saw someone walking out of the school with a mouth full of blood and he stopped to look at me and he said, ‘this is what they did to me.’”
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“My concerns are that this incident will drive a further wedge between the parents and community leaders that are trying to reopen schools and the administration,” Fife added.
OUSD sent KRON4 a statement that reads:
OUSD staff went to Parker on Thursday and found all the people who had been inside the building had left the premises. So staff changed the locks and set the alarm. someone picked, cut, or otherwise broke through a lock to get back inside the building. They were removed, but unfortunately, individuals forced their way back into the building. Parker K-8 school is now closed. The individuals at Parker have been and continue to trespass. We have directed them to leave from day one and have continued to do so on many other occasions. Of great concern is that the children that were onsite were sleeping in unsafe conditions and that the adults were running an unsafe and unlicensed child care program. We continue to demand that they find other ways to safely and peaceably express their concerns.Statement from OUSD